When you decide to change your life style, and to change your surrounding, you have to take in consideration many things, obviously depending on what your intentions are… As we are deciding to conduct a life almost off grid, our needs are based around the self-sufficiency aspect, but most importantly the natural aspect.
I feel the necessity to be surrounded by green, woodland, trees, hills stretching towards the horizon, where nature’s music is omnipresent, where you can breathe with open lungs without the worry of being intoxicated, where at night you look at the sky to gaze the thousands stars in blissful silence.
After living in England for 16 years, I cannot imagine my self being deprived by the fairy tale vivid green that you see around parks and woods on your doggy walks. Here the natural aspect is truly amazing, ‘there is nothing better than the English countryside’ they say…. and they say it for a reason… especially if you think about breath taking views, such as the Lake District, or the beautiful prairies in Dorset, just to name two.
It is very difficult to make this decision, as after living in London for a long time you are totally spoilt for choices. You have everything you need, anything… you name it, it’s here. A course you might have been thinking to do, a concert or an artist you want to see, an incredible variety of shops, for any needs, and for the anti shopper like me, you have the shop that comes on your door step… I can go on for ever. But as time goes by, we have to be brave and put things into perspective. Do we really need all these things? Or is it just a psychological comfort? I live in North London, and I barely go to the city centre… last time I have been there was months ago. So, sometimes we just like the idea of having something available, in easy reach, even when we don’t really need it anymore. And so it is with things… we collect stuff, that we don’t really need, but it comforts us in many ways; probably because we have a life style that lack in something, therefore we require comforts in materialistic things.
So, when we find the courage of letting go, than we are ready to change… and WHERE DO WE GO? (A million dollar’s question) Here starts the CONFUSION… Me and Hubby are both Italians, we come from the same town on the East coast in the centre of Italy, from the region of Abruzzo. Beautiful place, but not very lucky at the moment, due to earthquakes, climatic disasters and political corruption, which I prefer to avoid getting into. Italy is such a beautiful country, probably one of the most beautiful country in the world, for its history, its sun, its food, its art, etc. but at the same time it is also well known for its corruption and political disasters, unemployment, and crazy taxes! And believe me, if you are Italian and understand the language and the culture very well, you have a very different idea of what Italy truly is, and I can assure you it is not nice. So, as much as we like the idea of going back to be closer to our family and friends, we are also terrified by the ‘culture-shock’ that we might have going back, after living for so long in a country that is far more ‘civilised’ and fair, at least on the appearance :).
The English countryside is beautiful and magical, within its naturalistic scenery… but what inspire me and interest me the most here in England is the culture itself. What I love about it is that ‘pagan attitude’, that mental freedom towards life and that ‘easiness’ of people… something that I wish I had around me while I was growing up in Italy, it would have made such a difference. And you can really see after many years experiencing life somewhere else, how growing up in a catholic culture creates a mentally limited society, without even realizing. This is something that I always been against: the limitations that we create through judgement and fears, the fear of the New, the fear of the Diverse. In London the Diversity is celebrated, in Italy the Diversity is condemned, that’s the main difference.
England – Cumbria, Lake District, Patterdale, July 2017
But although England has so many points in favour, when it comes to the emotional side unfortunately does not have the same strength as Italy. All our family and friends are there, and as the time goes by you start a process of self enquiring, that during your twenties and half of your thirties you didn’t think it was that relevant, but suddenly in your forties it becomes one of the most significant part during your conversations about the move. Being closer to the people that you love is probably the wisest of the decisions, and considering we are both Italians, and our loved ones are in Italy, it seems a bit silly to make the move towards the English countryside, completely on our own, especially after the Brexit.
The other thing that pushes the decision more towards Italy at the moment is that in England properties value are absolutely bonkers, and if you want to buy a farm house you need money, lots of money… in Italy properties are much more affordable, especially in the country/mountains side where no one want to live. This explains why many English and American people are buying entire abandoned villages. So in terms of practicality, if you could choose between living in England with a massive mortgage or living in Italy mortgage free, what would you choose? The answer is pretty obvious if you want to sustain a self-sufficient life style. But we still have to take many things in consideration… Its definitely not an easy decision to make!
Italy – Umbria, Gubbio, Valdichiascio, February 2018
So although the debate Italy v England is on the table on a daily basis, from the last two years, it is fair to say that at the moment Italy is ahead. I would say 60% Italy, 40% England. Once there was also California on the game, but in fairness: a) – it is too far; b) – after Trump as president of the United States, all my fantasies have somehow vanished.
It is funny how many times you feel like a gypsy, that doesn’t belong anywhere, and every place you see could be a potential place where to live for a while, or make a permanent home. Sometimes I feel like a snail, looking for a lost shell…